The top four top fives – how to survive mat leave (in Manchester)

Top five free things to do

Art baby / Music baby

Art baby / Music baby is a great sensory class in the beautiful Whitworth Art Gallery. Not only is the class a fabulous sensory experience but there is also a lovely cafe where you can enjoy cake and views over Whitworth Park. If you are early enough there is free street parking which is a bonus. Booking is essential – check online.

http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk

Children’s Centres

Your local Children’s Centre will have a timetable jam-packed with sessions, classes and groups that you can attend throughout the week. Some are free and others ask for a donation. If you area doesn’t have things on that take your fancy, try a different local authority – Salford is particularly good.

Baby Explorers at Manchester Museum

Again, another free city centre sensory experience. Lovely resources in a beautiful environment. Booking is essential but well worthwhile. The museum has so much going on (and a great cafe) that you can spend hours exploring.

http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk

Parks and green spaces

Manchester is full of outdoor spaces for you to take your little ones. For my favourite parks and green spaces – click here

https://notjustritasmother.com/2015/10/02/park-it/

Home made baby sensory

Make your own baby sensory experience – get out the Christmas lights, find some floaty scarves, make use of kitchen utensils, sponges, old CDs, pieces of wood etc and do it all yourself!

For more crafty and creative ideas to try with your family – check out this brilliant blog by another fab Manchester Mum https://www.facebook.com/playsleeprepeat/

Top five weekend activities

Our Kids Social

OKS offer weekend family events across Manchester and sell out every month. Activities include vinyl revival, silent disco, arts and crafts, baby sensory, bingo bonanza, family photo frame – and there is always a fully licensed bar 🙂

http://www.ourkids.social

Shake, Rattle and Roll

A brilliant way to spend Saturday mornings – no booking required, £5 a family. Singing, dancing, Shiny Happy People and unlimited tea and coffee (and biscuits). There are two sessions which are perfect for babies and toddlers – adults be prepared to get fully involved too!

http://bandonthewall.org/events/3640/

Royal Exchange

A weekend programme of activities, workshops and classes for babies, toddlers and children. Some include parent participation and for others you get to sit in the cafe with a paper and a brew. The programme changes regularly so you can go often and never do the same thing twice. Booking necessary.

http://www.royalexchange.co.uk

Crosby beach

Yes a bit of a drive but well worth it. Anthony Gorman’s Other Place is an art installation across the sands – 100 casts of his own body stretching out into the sea. Walk along the prom, get a hot chocolate from the tea van, try out the swings at the play park. A beautiful way to spend a few hours. Sunsets – amazing.

http://www.visitliverpool.com/things-to-do/another-place-by-antony-gormley-p160981

Art Gallery

There are monthly baby sensory sessions on at Manchester Art Gallery in the city centre. Great for exploring, touching, trying and different every month. No booking required, you can just turn up, drop in, tune out.

http://manchesterartgallery.org

Top five baby friendly places that serve beer

Artisan – City Centre

Situated in Spinningfields Artisan offers a kids lunch menu alongside adult cocktails – something for everyone. Whilst evenings are adult-only territory, day times offer a great place to stop with the whole family when out in town. Spacious and comfy seating, lots of light and super friendly staff, Artisan is always top of our list.

http://artisan.uk.com

Worsley Old Hall

Our local favourite, kid friendly, pram friendly, dog friendly, family friendly. WOH has a great menu, good wine and a lovely atmosphere. It also boasts an amazing beer garden that for me, cannot be beaten in the summer months.

http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/worsleyoldhall/

Hare and Hounds – Werneth Low

With fantastic views over Manchester, a good menu, outdoor seating and totally family friendly, the Hare and Hounds is a must visit pub. Sunset is beautiful if your little ones can last that late!

http://www.chefandbrewer.com/pub/hare-and-hounds-inn-werneth-low-hyde/p1589/

Horse and Jockey – Chorlton

Another great pub that welcomes children, families and dogs. Great outdoor seating space and a lovely menu. Gets very busy at the weekend and booking for a table is advisable. If you fancy a little walk over the green, you will get to The Bowling Green which is another fab and welcoming Chorlton pub – very busy when the match is on!

http://www.horseandjockeychorlton.com

The Stables – Heaton Park

A beautiful park in north Manchester – a great way to spend a few hours with the whole family. The Stables cafe is a lovely place with great cake and hot chocolate – but also beers and wine. Local produce is available to buy and all within great surroundings with outdoor space offering views over the park and Manchester beyond.

http://eat-at-heatonpark.com

Top five things to do for you

Mrs Bear’s Swap Shop

Following great success in Manchester, Mrs Bear’s Swap Shop is now thriving in Manchester and taking place regularly in Lloyd’s Bar Chorlton. Bring 7 items of clothes, £5 and get swapping – leave with a whole new wardrobe. And there’s free cake 😉

https://www.facebook.com/mrsbearsswapshop/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Mamas Collective

Molly set up Mamas Collective for Manchester Mums to meet, socialise, discuss, learn, support and grow. With relaxed meet ups looking at everything from confidence building to coding, guest speakers and social meet ups (in funky bars) this is a great group to be part of.

https://www.facebook.com/mamasMCR/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Mummy Massage – Sale and Rochdale 

Debs provides massage and physio for all but also provides a special service for Mums to be and new Mums. I saw Debs regularly in the last few months of pregnancy and the first few months of Motherhood. I would highly recommend her – early booking is essential

mummymassage@hotmail.com

Exercise

Exercise in any form will make you feel better about yourself, give you some time away from family, and is also – good for you! Hunt out schemes like ‘I will if you will’, ‘ParkLives’, ‘This girl can’, ‘Parkrun’ as they all offer free or reduced price activities to get women up and active. It might be Zumba, netball, marathon running, swimming, football or Morris dancing – whatever floats your boat – get into it!

Netflix

Ok – so I am not advocating sitting in your PJs watching TV all day every day. But, everyone needs to switch off once in a while and nothing says a decent box set like Netflix. Those early days (weeks/ months) of little sleep and constant feeding can be lonely – Orange Is The New Black, Suits or The Good Wife may just save your sanity!

 

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